The Matthew Effect – Named after a parable in The New Testament in which Jesus speaks (in fancier biblical words) of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.  While the term has been bandied about in multiple fields, it’s special significance to special education was expounded by psychologist Keith Stanovich.  Because those who learn linguistic foundations, such as phonology, grammar, and reading, have the things they’ve learned, they then learn more.  Those without these foundations fall further behind.  A strong body of evidence supports The Matthew Effect’s common sense notion that the gap that exists in early language learning widens in part because of the very existence of the gap itself.

The Flynn Effect  – The research of James Flynn and others like him has demonstrated that IQs have gone up between 5 and 25 points among those in the general population during the past century.  While some have stated that this is proof positive of our ever increasing intelligence, explanatory opinions have ranged from more expansive schooling, to better nutrition, to better problem solving abilities due to the greater accessibility of puzzles and video games, as well as the greater complexity of society overall.  While a general consensus has remained out of reach, Flynn’s own hypothesis is that IQ testing correlates with intelligence more than it actually tests it.  Click here for a well balanced explanation.

Built by the mob?  Or partial reinforcement?
Built by the mob? Or partial reinforcement?

The Partial Reinforcement Effect This is the one that keeps building those large Las Vegas hotels.  Responses acquired after intermittent reinforcement (such as gambling wins) last longer than those acquired after continuous reinforcement.  Simply put, spacing rewards is the best way to reinforce desired behavior.  Despite it’s power, this one seems underutilized in education and teaching.  I think it just needs a catchier name.

The Spacing Effect Repeated spaced presentations naturally aid our memory in learning, much more than presentations that occur bunched together.  If you read my earlier post, the spacing effect may be helping you learn about the spacing effect.

The Mozart Effect – Does listening to classical music actually improve intelligence?  Probably not, but click here to read about why this effect has been so easy to believe.

The Perceptual Magnet Effect – According to this theory, this enables us to more easily learn differences between sounds that exist in learned language.  We perceive a sound as its intended exemplar, even when not produced exactly as that exemplar.  Here’s more info.

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